UPDATE: Groups promote adaptive cycling at Ride the Drive event - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Groups promote adaptive cycling at Ride the Drive event

Posted: Updated: Jun 01, 2014 08:01 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- Sunday's "Ride the Drive" event downtown shut down streets around the Capitol from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in an effort to promote bicycling, rollerblading, walking and other physical activity.

There were several opportunities for non-traditional cyclists to participate.

Ride the Drive featured a tandem bike ride -- in which cyclists teamed up with people who are blind and rode together, on multi-rider cycles dubbed tandem bicycles.

"It's really nice to be able to go out into the sunshine and the warmth of summer and to ride," said Judith Rasmussen, one of the blind riders participating.

"It comes naturally where, if you ride a bicycle, you want to see more things happen like this where more and more people can ride," said cyclist Zachary Barnes.

Barnes said the tandem ride was sponsored by the Wisconsin Bike Federation, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the City of Madison.

Also on hand Sunday were the Madison Spinal Cord Injury and Issues Chapter, as well as Project Mobility, which teamed up to promote adaptive bicycling for people with disabilities.

Project Mobility offers cycles featuring extra balance help, elevated seating, special foot straps or even hand pedals so more people can participate in biking events like Ride the Drive.

Hal Honeyman, Project Mobility's founder, said some of the organization's bikes even have "full trunk or head support."

"Really whatever a person needs to be successful, we try to find a way to do that," he said.

"When you get (people with disabilities) on a bike, they get the freedom of being able to move faster, move further and see things from a different perspective," Honeyman said.

Tina McFadden, of Madison SCI, said the group promotes adaptive cycling as well as other activities, like kayaking, to keep its members active.

"It's good for your health and it's fun," she said. "You might have done a lot of these activities before and then, all of a sudden, you're in a wheelchair and you wonder, what else can I do?"

McFadden said Madison SCI, which is a support group for those with spinal injuries and other disabilities, boasts roughly 80 members and is open to all.

Adrienne Rust, a UW-Madison physical therapy student who volunteers with Madison SCI, said activities like adaptive cycling are healthy for the muscles and joints.

Michelle Tollakson, also a physical therapy student volunteer, said the benefits can also be mental or emotional.
"Just improving self esteem and having them be social with their friends and their family and being able to do things outside," Tollakson said.

Honeyman said Project Mobility travels the country promoting adaptive cycling. He added that's a rewarding feeling.

"We put a lot of people on bikes (Sunday) that really, before, didn't know bicycling was an option for them," he said.

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